“Being Vegan” is only in the infancy stages and as you may have noticed, many celebrities are even giving it a whirl. While they may be flighty with their commitment and choices, there plenty of reasons to take a vegan diet seriously. At VeganFitness.Guru, we have been reaping the benefits of a vegan diet for over 9 years.
1. Nutritional Benefits– The nutritional benefits to a vegan diet are many. You will naturally adopt a diet that is high in fiber while being low in saturated fats. This is a result of eliminating dairy and animal by-products while increasing your consumption of leafy greens, legumes and vegetables. A balanced vegan diet will also provide your body with the appropriate nutrients and minerals that you need. A diet high in fiber and low in saturated fats will not only provide you with more energy, you will also lose pesky pounds while detoxifying your body inside and out.
2. Disease Prevention– Studies indicate that a balanced vegan diet can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease as well as Type 2 Diabetes. Your cholesterol will be dramatically reduced as you will be eliminating dietary cholesterol. Here is a study that looks at the effects of a vegan diet on cancer! A diet high in anti-oxidants will aid disease prevention and a vegan diet is chock full of anti-oxidants.
3. Physical Benefits– A common belief is that you will not get adequate protein on a vegan diet. The opposite is actually true, you can easily consume adequate protein and build muscle all while being vegan. Here are a few sources of protein for vegans:
- Green Peas
- Nuts and Nut Butters
- Chick Peas
- Leafy Greens
- Non-dairy milks (almond or cashew)
“Nutrition experts estimate that most of us need between 0.8 and 1 gram of protein per day for every kilogram of body weight. That works out to 55 grams of protein per day for someone who weighs 150 pounds or approximately 10 percent of normal caloric intake (people in endurance training and pregnant women might require a bit more, of course). If a vegan eats a reasonably varied diet and consumes a sufficient amount of calories, he or she will undoubtedly get enough protein. And, unlike animal protein, plant-based protein sources contain healthy fiber and complex carbohydrates.” -PETA Prime
4. For the Animals– If you have done your research on the meat industry, you are certainly aware that the vast majority of animals raised for meat and dairy are living and dying in inhumane circumstances. By choosing a vegan way of life you are also taking your money out of the meat industry. Additionally, forests are being totally wiped out to clear land for the raising of domestic cattle. Doing this is destroying the natural habitat of the local species. You can also put your money and energy towards supporting our local farmers and farmers markets.
5. For the Environment– Raising animals for food is immensely taxing on our environment for many reasons. The Vegan Society stated that, “The production of meat and other animal products places a heavy burden on the environment – from crops and water required to feed the animals, to the transport and other processes involved from farm to fork. The vast amount of grain feed required for meat production is a significant contributor to deforestation, habitat loss and species extinction. In Brazil alone, the equivalent of 5.6 million acres of land is used to grow soya beans for animals in Europe. This land contributes to developing world malnutrition by driving impoverished populations to grow cash crops for animal feed, rather than food for themselves. On the other hand, considerably lower quantities of crops and water are required to sustain a vegan diet, making the switch to veganism one of the easiest, most enjoyable and most effective ways to reduce our impact on the environment. For more on how veganism is the way forward for the environment,” see the environment section.
6. Sustainability– Growing produce is less taxing on the environment and uses fewer natural resources, making a vegan diet a more sustainable choice. The meat industry had adopted ways to keep up with the demand and growing population. These ways are compromising to the human body. The meat industry pumps meat with steroids and growth hormones to maximize output. “Try as they might, meat producers just can’t match the efficiency of plants, nor the wonders a plant-based diet can do for animal welfare and the environment. If you think that picking a veggie burger over a beef burger or a salad over a salmon filet is gentler on your home planet, you’re right!”- One Green Planet
7. Lose Weight and Maintain Ideal Weight– Following a balanced vegan diet, you will find that you are consuming less saturated fats and more fiber. You will also be less prone to craving nutrient devoid foods because your diet will be high in nutritional value. Please note, that we are using the term “balanced vegan diet.” Simply eliminating animal by-products will not automatically leave you with a healthy diet. You need to be sure that the vegan diet you choose follows appropriate nutritional guidelines based on your needs.
8. Improve Physical Performance– Last but certainly not least, you will see an improvement in your overall physical performance. Your energy will increase leading to more physical activity. Mental clarity will also help you improve as an athlete. Many people are not aware that a vegan diet can help you perform better as an athlete. A balanced vegan diet tailored to your physical activity will help you perform even better. You can learn more here.
As you can see, there are many benefits to adopting a vegan way of life. We look forward to your vegan journey!
Here are some links if you choose to include some vegan dishes on your holiday menus!